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The Best of Times, the Worst of Times: Understanding Pro-cyclical Mortality

Author

Listed:
  • Ann H. Stevens
  • Douglas L. Miller
  • Marianne E. Page
  • Mateusz Filipski

Abstract

It is well-known that mortality rates are pro-cyclical. In this paper, we attempt to understand why. We find little evidence that cyclical changes in individuals' own employment-related behavior drives the relationship; own-group employment rates are not systematically related to own-group mortality. Further, most additional deaths that occur when the economy is strong are among the elderly, particularly elderly women and those residing in nursing homes. We also demonstrate that staffing in nursing homes moves countercyclically. These findings suggest that cyclical fluctuations in the quality of health care may be a critical contributor to cyclical movements in mortality. (JEL E24, E32, I12, J16, L84)

Suggested Citation

  • Ann H. Stevens & Douglas L. Miller & Marianne E. Page & Mateusz Filipski, 2015. "The Best of Times, the Worst of Times: Understanding Pro-cyclical Mortality," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 7(4), pages 279-311, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aejpol:v:7:y:2015:i:4:p:279-311
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/pol.20130057
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Christopher J. Ruhm, 2000. "Are Recessions Good for Your Health?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 115(2), pages 617-650.
    2. Mark Aguiar & Erik Hurst & Loukas Karabarbounis, 2013. "Time Use during the Great Recession," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 103(5), pages 1664-1696, August.
    3. Ruhm, Christopher J., 2005. "Healthy living in hard times," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(2), pages 341-363, March.
    4. Miller, Douglas L. & Paxson, Christina, 2006. "Relative income, race, and mortality," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(5), pages 979-1003, September.
    5. Douglas L. Miller & Marianne E. Page & Ann Huff Stevens & Mateusz Filipski, 2009. "Why Are Recessions Good for Your Health?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(2), pages 122-127, May.
    6. Christopher Ruhm, 2007. "A healthy economy can break your heart," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 44(4), pages 829-848, November.
    7. Reagan A. Baughman & Kristin E. Smith, 2012. "Labor Mobility Of The Direct Care Workforce: Implications For The Provision Of Longā€Term Care," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 21(12), pages 1402-1415, December.
    8. Ruhm, Christopher J., 2003. "Good times make you sick," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(4), pages 637-658, July.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E24 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity
    • E32 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Business Fluctuations; Cycles
    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior
    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination
    • L84 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Services - - - Personal, Professional, and Business Services

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